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Using a Mac


I thought it would be useful to put together a basic guide on how to use your Mac. I have also put a link to Apples site where they go through everything that you could possible need to know.

Mac Manual

Using the Trackpad

The trackpad acts as any other laptop trackpad would, with one major difference: the entire trackpad is a button. To left-click, you need to click down on the trackpad with a single finger; this is easier towards the bottom of the trackpad. To right-click, click down on the trackpad with two adjacent fingers. This can be made easier by placing one finger on the trackpad first, then clicking with the second finger (while both remain in contact with the trackpad). 

To scroll up and down in documents and websites, use two adjacent fingers to swipe up or down. Swiping two fingers up will scroll the page down, like pushing a piece of paper (or how it works on an iPhone/iPad), and swiping two fingers down will scroll the page up, like pulling the page towards you. This “natural scrolling” takes a little getting your head around, but basically operates like documents on an iPhone/iPad.

Using the Dock and Finder to work with applications and documents

The dock is the row of icons across the bottom of the screen. You can single-click on these icons to open up a new application, or to switch focus to an already open application. The left-most icon (a blue face) is called the Finder. This is the equivalent to Windows Explorer, where you will find you Documents, Pictures, Downloads and other folders.

Important Applications – icons and descriptions

Finder: First icon on the dock, a blue face. This is used to browse documents and folders.

Safari: Second icon on the dock, a blue compass. This is the web browser.

Microsoft Office: Four icons on the right-hand side of the dock: W, P, X & O. These correspond to Word, Powerpoint, Excel and Outlook.

Trash: The right-most icon on the dock is the “trash can”, which is basically the recycle bin. Deleted documents go here, until the trash can is emptied. To do this, either open up the trash folder and manually delete files from there, or right-click on the Trash icon and click “Empty Trash.” 

Keyboard differences and useful key combinations (shortcuts)

There are a few differences on the Mac’s keyboard, as it is more like an American layout of a Windows keyboard: 

  • The @ and “ (speech marks) keys have swapped places.
  • The \ (backslash) and ~ (tilde) keys have swapped places.
  • There is no Delete key, only backspace (above return). To delete, hold fn + backspace. The “fn” key is in the bottom-left key of the keyboard.
  • To insert a # (hash) sign, press alt + 3

 Useful key combinations include: 

  • cmd + c = Copy
  • cmd + v = Paste
  • cmd + z = Undo
  • cmd + s = Save
  • cmd + backspace = Delete file(s)
  • cmd + w = Close window or browser tab (without quitting application)
  • cmd + q = Close application (including all windows/instances of application)

Preview (space bar)

To preview any document or file on the Mac, highlight it in a Finder window and press the Spacebar. This will bring up a preview of PDFs, images, webpages, Word documents, and most other common document file types.

Working with PDFs

PDFs will open in “Preview,” which is the Mac application for previewing most office-type documents.


The Apple site. Click here to see the Basics

Posted by Daniel Smith on 27 October 2014

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